"Well, I'm not really interested in other people, generally."
"Yeah, but you have to interact with them a lot."
"It's my stance that ... other people are only going to bug me, or hurt me, or irritate me, or get in the way at some point."
"But that doesn't mean that there won't be an upside somewhere along the way."
"Well, yeah, but -- "
"Now I won't even claim that you're gonna break even, but, the second law of thermodynamics is bad enough, ... why would you expect any better in your personal life?"
"Yeah, but most of the time, I feel it's not worth the effort. I think I'm better off sitting in a room, working by myself."
"Yeah, but you know what happens to a system with no new input..."
"It gets really boring!"
"Well, that, and you never learn anything."
"But that's not true, you can still develop and learn things without direct contact with other people."
"But it's at a slower rate. Even if it's not directly applied to what you're doing, learning new ways to hold discussions, learning pattern recognition even, is the way we think. And to some degree, social interaction is what stimulates it. Even if you don't enjoy being around people, you still pick things up. It's how we're wired."
"But I can pick up a large proportion of people's words, and mannerisms, and sayings, in an IRC chat room."
"You're not picking up their actual personality, though, you're picking up an anonymous projection."
"It's projected, but, if I know someone, for example..."
"But can you extrapolate? I don't think so, ... My ex had an IRC presence even geekier than mine. She sounded like a script kiddie. She spelled 'you are' with the letters 'U' and 'R' and shit like that. But she's a completely different person in real life. At least, different from me. Different from what I expected."
"Well that makes sense, but it just sounds like a bad assumption, based on her writing style. I mean, It's not like she was using some kind of alter-ego."
"Yeah, but a lot of people do. I've met any number of people who do. And the reason is, they have personal needs that they can't meet in a socially acceptable way, for whatever reason, in their normal social context. They're too worried that being the personality type they have a need to be -- instead of the personality type they want to be -- is something that's not socially acceptable to express."
"Well, then they're hanging around the wrong social group."
"But it's more complex than that. It's not just a matter of their friends, it's a matter of their family, their co-workers, their religion, the police..."
"Then they can sever those ties, and move across the world."
"Yeah, but, the thing is, it's not always an improvement. Or you take the contents of your brain with you, and fail to accept the new environment because of that."
"Hrmmm, yeah, that's a harder thing to escape."
"Yeah, so, these people pop off to IRC, and start acting like degenerates instead."
"But see, even this is not really a problem for me. I don't use IRC to meet new people, I only use it to converse with people I already know."
"Yeah, but then you're still closing yourself off, at least beyond a certain point. And if you spend too much time isolated, feeding back into yourself, things just tend to degenerate."
"Well, I've noticed that, with people who spend too much time alone, the first thing they start to lose is their respect for human life."
"This can lead to some pretty bad situations. It can upset people."
"What, like, buying my groceries at the corner store and not thanking the grocer?"
"No, no ... more serious than that."
"What, so, I live in a house, I keep to myself, but I never mow my lawn? Stuff like that?"
"No, it's more like ... oh, what would be a good example ... like doing something for financial gain when you know it's going to jeopardize someone else's life, even if you don't really need the money. Like being a drug lord, for example."
"Hrmmm, yeah, that's pretty bad..."
"Who's that journalist who talks on TV? The streetwise bastard, O'Rourke, or O'Rarr, or..."
"Yeah. He had a guy who was endorsing drug legalization come on the show. O'Rielly gave him about 20 seconds to introduce himself and start stating his case, before he interrupted him, and said 'People like YOU are the reason we have a drug problem in this country! You interfere with our laws and our enforcement and you want to make it easier for people to get ahold of drugs! Your position is ridiculous, and I don't want to hear about it.'"
"I was, like, 'What the HELL?' Anyone who bothers to rub two brain cells together should realize what's really going on. The only reason that whether or not drugs are accessible is an issue, is because PEOPLE WANT TO GET THEM. Why do people want to get them? Because OOOOH, they're ILLEGAL! Ooh, my parents said no! It's counter-culture, it's wicked, it's fashionably criminal!"
"Well yeah, but come on, they're also addictive."
"There's no drug on the planet more addictive than cigarettes. If we made smoking punishable with mandatory jail time and a permanent drug record, do you think it would HELP matters, as a whole?"
"Well, once everyone stops smoking, yes!"
"As long as cigarettes are available, people are going to chase them down and smoke them. Since you can grow tobacco in your back yard and sell it door-to-door, you've pretty much done nothing but drop a massively profitable market into the hands of organized crime. People will still smoke, they'll just do it in the bad part of town, and pack a gun in case the police try a bust."
"Yeah, it's like, nobody was interested in converting an SKS to fully automatic, until you couldn't get them at all any more..."
"It's not the drugs that are ruining people's lives, in large part. It's not the drugs that are driving them into crime and squalor, killing their chances at a decent job, at military service, at public office, at respect. It's the goddamn law, and the permanent record."
"But what about the addiction? Addicts are stuck with this uncontrollable need. They end up doing all sorts of things just to feed the addiction; they can't help themselves!"
"I say it again: Cigarettes are THE most addictive drug known to man, but if a smoker runs out of cigarettes, and he's broke, and the craving is with him all day every day, does he go knife someone in a back alley to score another pack? No. Smoking is not illegal. He considers himself a law-abiding citizen. He's no criminal, and he knows it. Hell, if it gets bad enough, he can just walk through the park and ask RANDOM PEOPLE, 'hey, can I bum a cigarette?' and strangers will take pity, and understand, and probably hand him one. And none of them will be undercover cops. No harm done. Citizen remains productive."
"Okay, so, fine. Say we legalize drugs. What do you think is the first thing that's gonna happen? All sorts of people will go clamoring for them, right? Some kind of mass orgy will take place. And maybe, five years later, people will start figuring it out, and say to themselves, this really is stupid. Forget all this drug shit."
"Sure... One would hope, anyway."
"But in the meantime, during that first five years, a bunch of people are going to come forward and say, 'this was the wrong decision -- just look at all the chaos. Now everybody's using it.'"
"Yeah, and that's going to be hard to avoid, because even if drug use doesn't actually go up, it's going to be out in the open because people won't have to hide in their houses to use it. And so it will appear to go up, for a lot of people."